The last time I did Fitchburg was back in 2005, and man, was it a high-strung race. People cussing, shoving at the start lines, knocking each other around on course. Granted, today was a TT, but I’d have to say the overall scene was far more laid back. Lots of guys in the Cat 3 field just kinda sitting up, missing starts, no aero kits or nuthin’. I’d love to say that this was due to the more selective (if way stupider) course, but I don’t want to advance my own opinions on course design or anything.
I got to the hotel for reg about 40 minutes later than I’d planned, then rallied my Subaru to the start, only to have State Trooper Friendly tell me there’s no parking at the start line. No biggie, the last minute panic thing works well as a warm-up for me, and a megadose of caffeine never hurts. Drove to the civic center, checked in with the squad, had a bathroom visit and hammered off to the start.
I nailed the race clock syncro, rolling into the start house 40 seconds before my time, with an HR of 151. My 30 second man was absent, which gave me nothing to chase. And the holder held me crooked. But what can you do, right? Eventually 13:02:00 rolled around and I was off. Settling in was hard. My evil HRM was spitting out ludicrous figures (239, 240) so I had to go by feel. Aerobically I felt good, almost too easy, but the legs, even at 85 rpm, just couldn’t get on top of the gears I wanted to turn.
After my recon, I thought this might be an aerobar-free course, but last night I put them on, figuring better to have them than not. I think it was a good call, with a solid headwind for much of the climb. By about ten minutes in, I was getting a good lock on my minute man, and just pulled him back steady, passing him on top of the hill despite an inopportune chain throw. Only the steepest or longest bits forced me out of the aero position, but I still just couldn’t put power I wanted into the pedals sitting down.
I tucked into the aerobars and 53/14 on the descent. I was going probably 90-100 rpms with it, but still – the power just wasn’t there. Dodging the bumps was easy, but even with 1k, 500 and 200m to go signs, I really couldn’t push it red. I suppose any chance I had of doing well today disappeared with my bike under the front wheels of a black SUV last Monday, but it would have been nice to at least have the sensation of leaving it all out on the course. C’est la vie.
Finally got back to the hotel to check results later in the afternoon. 19:47, bad enough for 64th place, about 2:30 back from the
worst sandbagger best finisher. No one else on INTERNATIONAL BICYCLE CENTERS fared particularly well, either, with C.Greg in 33rd with 19:09 and Paul and Mike a few ticks behind me. But it’s really only incentive to be that much more active over the coming three days.